When you are so close yet so far

Born of the Gods is about to come out and I’m probably not going to get to play much.  No luck on the job front so far between Trevor or I…at least not something we can rely on.

Worse than not being able to play Magic with my friends due to funds is knowing that I’m just one e-mail away from potentially being able to.  And greater than just being able to play, I would be able to mostly support Trevor with just my position and allow him to write while working side jobs and doing the things he loves.  As long as he could cover the student loan payments, I would be happy.

Yet, I sit here in limbo, stressing out over what to do, deciding on should we or shouldn’t we regarding moving in with my parents, driving myself further insane at work, and pushing him to get a job and probably put him back into previous depression.  There is no greater gift for me than to see him happy, and he is happiest when he is writing and working on projects with people and being ambitious.  Things that a job don’t allow you to do normally.

I will probably get to go to at least one event for BNG, so I will report back my thoughts.  Thank you for listening to me rant in the mean time.

Silver I

I decided over my winter break to get back to League a bit and try to do some ranked games.  That turned into a 10 game marathon to see where I fall.  I wound up in Silver I when all was said and done.  Pretty good for a rusty old fart like myself.

I realized a few things while playing that needed to be corrected immediately.

A)Bots had made me lazy.  I played Bot games to the point of knowing their exact patterns.  I forgot how unpredictable humans are.

B)The new items had me thrown for a loop.  Where the fuck was my Reverie? What was I doing with free wards? Why did no one ward still if they gave you free ones?

C)I needed a wider champion base.

So while not the best choice, I’ve gone back to playing PVP Normals for a bit.  Save up IP for new champions(I’ve gotten Quinn and Rengar so far), learn these new masteries and items(such memorization is more Trevor’s thing), and realize that people are not computer code that goes a certain way.  So, please come play with me if you have a chance!

FNM BUG Mid-Range

For the past couple of weeks I had been trying to play the Golgari Aggro decks that had been appearing place, but not having much luck with them.  So this week, with more time off to look at lists and really get an idea of what I wanted to play in this format, I finally decided to give BUG Mid-Range a go.

I used Jeff Hoogland’s List, which you can go see easily and read about his path to getting to the list, for FNM for a few reasons.  My store has a lot of aggro players or Esper Control players.  This deck gave me the ability to switch gears in order to handle one over the other a little bit better.  I wasn’t going to be getting rid of any Erebos or Thassa, but I would make it a lot harder for them to turn on.  Another reason is that I had all the pieces available to me.  I was missing one Hero’s Downfall, but that was easily replaced by a Putrey with the added benefit of killing multiple Spears that way.

Round one was against a Boros Devotion deck that leaned to the Red side.  I got in there with a Nightvale Specter and wound up exiling a Mountain and a Stormbreath Dragon.  I had a Cartyiad on the board, so I could have played the Stormbreath Dragon at any point with that, but for whatever reason that did not click.  Instead, Prognostic Sphinx got there  as I chipped away at his wall of Boros Reckoners and Ash Zealots.  For the second game I sided in Doom Blade and Ultimate Price for the Putrefy and one Downfall so that I had cheaper removal.  I also brought in the extra Golgari Charm in order to have some Regen power.  I won the next game and the round pretty quickly.

Round two was just straight Red Devotion, however he couldn’t seem to get it going.  I used a similar sideboard plan and killed a lot of his creatures by Monstering Polukranos.  He won the second game when I kept a bad hand, but I was able to fuse Far/Away by using Ashiok’s abilities.  Using the -2 to grab a previously exiled Burning Tree Emissary and then doing the rest was just very satisfying for some reason.  Otherwise, it was Polukranos in this game that just trampled over with some aid of a Sphinx.  Jace was also important in these games because it made a lot of his guys ineffective attackers unless they were unleashed, which then prevented him from chump blocking in many cases.

Round three was against someone who normally played Esper Control so I was pretty sure that is what I would be going up against.  Then suddenly, there was a pile of white weenies on the board.  Good thing I had a handful of Golgari Charms to deal with the Solider of the Pantheon, Daring Skyjek, and Imposing Sovereign.  Once I stabilized we were golden, it was just the initial issue with Solider gaining him life.  I brought in the same number of removal, plus the Ratchet Bombs to take care of the Solider’s.  I took out two Ashiok’s since I wouldn’t be able to cast anything from his deck and Nightvale was doing his job fine.  Game two was much of the same, but with the Ratchet bomb I not only used Golgari charm as a board wipe, but had a back up on board that made him hesitant to play other items. Jace was also important in this match up since It allowed me to dig for the cards I needed, like Charms, Ultimate Price, and Nightvale Spector.

It was nice to go 3-0 again, something I haven’t done since rotation.  I seemed to have finally found my groove in this format, just in time for it to change.  One thing I would want to change in this deck is having a Vraska in the sideboard, although I’m not sure where yet.  At least for my stores meta, she is very good and people often don’t expect her either.  I had a lot of fun and go to use cards that are definitely underestimated in my opinion.

Tearaway

I’ve had the Vita since launch, but only recently has it really come into its own.  Between the PS4 coming out and opening the door to crossplay and a lot more games being pushed to it, it really has started to blip on the radars of gamers everywhere.

I have loved the Vita because it did everything I wanted it to do plus a bit more.  I could through music on it, connect with PSN friends even when away or traveling, and having an awesome touch screen really helped.  For that first year, though, the games were a bit lacking.  We had Katamari, Ragnarok, P4: Golden, and Gravity Rush eventually.  These were all awesome and kept me occupied, but were either finished to early or never really had an end point.

Trevor got me Tearaway for Christmas since it was something I had been raving about for a few months now.  I put it in my Vita immediately and started to play and quite simply wondered where this game was at launch.  It was perfect for the little system.  It used all the features for combat or puzzles and really immersed you in the game. Like literally put you in there.  ‘You’ are the sun.  Every time you see the sun, you see your face in the middle of it.

The way that this is used to craft a story is so friendly and welcoming it is brilliant.  It reminds you very much of the narration in Little Big Planet, but with a wider range and more depth.  Being able to customize your character, called Atoi for the female version or Iota for the male, is fun and something you can waste hours doing.  Customizing the environment is equally engrossing.  

I’m about 5 hours into the game and while it is a big improvement over Little Big Planet, it still has issues with occasionally weird directions.  I come to this section where there is a log blocking Atoi’s path.  Under the log are the symbols for poking the rear touch pad in order to break through and move things.  I try getting through to move the log.  I try lifting the log.  The instruction on what to do with these symbols keeps appearing, but no farther assistance to do with the log.  I continue to fiddle with it for 30 minutes before I get my fingers in just the right spot where it lifts the log.  So then I try tossing it aside and it just falls back down.  I spend another 10 minutes trying to get that spot again, finally do and then figure I need to finagle Atoi with the joystick to walk under the log while I’m still holding it up vita the rear touchpad.

I’m in my 20s and my coordination was just not liking this.  I can’t imagine giving it to a kid.  Then again, maybe kid hands would be better on the touch screen.

Overall, the game is great.  It really shows off all the Vita’s capabilities while being creative and colorful.  There are a few glitches and finicky items, but with some patience you can get through it.  It is worth a pick up with your gift cards from family who didn’t know what to get you or picking up for yourself as an after holiday’s gift.

The things that come with moving

With Trevor losing his job and both of us looking at new jobs, the prospect of moving comes along with that.  What has been interesting during looking at places that we are getting feedback from is our process of ranking what we think of these locations.

First we look at the internet providers in the area.  With my grad school being online and so much of life revolving around it, having crappy internet is not an option.  We look at company reviews, the speeds they offer, pricing.  We search for if they instill caps on households and what happens if you hit those caps.  We would love to go somewhere that Google Fiber is available, but, that is incredibly narrow and maybe not so fair to a search.

Then, we go and we put a local zip code into WoTC’s find a store.  Since neither of us enjoy playing online(which is contradictory to our first requirement), we need a store nearby.  We enjoy the interaction with people, a place to go once a week that isn’t the grocery store.  Having a card/gaming shop around ensures that we have someway to connect with people who have similar interests to us and can then branch out into things we are not so interested in.

I look at crime reports for various areas.  There is a certain threshold of cost to crime I’m not willing to go back into.  Maybe it is because I did it as a kid and I know how awful it is or it could be that I don’t want to ruin my husband’s level of innocence he has on these things. Either way, I won’t go for the cheapest place if it also means being in a bad area.

Then we look at the grocery stores.  With all my allergies, having an ‘organic’ food market around tends to be a good thing.  If there isn’t, I tend to have to dig deeper and see if there is at least a section that will sell dairy free goods, note if vitamins have fish in them, have antibiotic free meat, and so on.  Smaller areas tend to not be as open to this idea while larger cities, or ones that are growing, do.

There are other things we look at as well.  Parks we can go to, recreation, tax costs, and government structure.  These things don’t necessarily get ranked though, as much as they are filed away in some part of my mind that remembers them for the long term.

But that is about it…If you know of any positions open, either in the writing or IT world, give me a yell so I can pass them on :D

Been Isolated

Sorry I haven’t been keeping up.  Honestly, I’ve been a bit isolated.  Some of it is self-imposed other parts are more dependent on things going on.

I had another massive surgery on my foot, so I haven’t fully walked in over two months.  Even before that walking was painful and exasperating due to the pain and swelling.  I hate being the weak link so I stopped going to as many events and being as social.  Then at the end of November, Trevor lost his job, so I’ve been determined not to go anywhere and spend money.  It is also one of those times where I’m not sure if life is going to be uprooted or not, due to his job loss and possible job prospects, so I just start to cut ties with people…not talking, not showing interest, not caring.

It probably isn’t good for me.

Most of my MTG experiences have been on DoTP and a little bit of MTGO/MODO…which was awful. Hopefully when it comes back it won’t be so bad.  I went to GPDC and did side events and saw people I normally wouldn’t, but did not play in the main event as I did not have a Legacy deck. The events I did play in I did well, but never quite made it to first.  Didn’t expect much considering how long it had been since I had held cards in my hand.

I’ll probably be at an IQ this weekend since it is relatively close and free.  Trevor and I both have cards to play with, so we had may as well.

I’ve been playing quite a bit of League as well, trying to get better in the jungle and top lanes since those were my weakest positions previously.  Until I have a multitude of champions that I can play in all positions down pat, I don’t think I will do much in the ranked system.  That and school which I have to do nearly 5 nights a week…

Anyway, hopefully I’ll be more interactive here in the future.  Might use this as an outlet for a bit.  Might post some fiction type items.  Probably do some tournament type reports.  Probably get some PS4 game reviews up…maybe even some for Vita…or go back and do more comic book reviews… I don’t know.  Tell me what you want to see

Rock-Walkers, My Rise, My Fall, and learning to Dust Myself Off

Hi guys!  I haven’t been chatting much because, well, I haven’t been doing much.  After surgery I re-injured my foot and was put back on restricted activity, which limited the number of events I could go to and how far I was really willing to travel.  Having a big black boot of junk all the time is not the most comfortable way to take part in events.  So mostly I did things at my LGS like GPTs.

However, last Friday I got the go ahead to drive and walk around a bit more, so I high tailed myself over to SCG Open Richmond.  It is only about an hour to an hour and a half drive from where I live, so I figured it would be a good test of both my physical capability and where I was at in the rat race since the release of M14. I got there early, asked for fixed seating(which if you are ever injured or disabled, you should totally ask for at a large event. They are normally more than accommodating) and looked through my deck and deck list one more time.  The guys from my shop who had been there the previous day for Team Sealed and I made some final tweaks before the player meeting and then we were off!

It wasn’t so good.  Everyone had Jund at this event.  Or at least it felt like it.  And while I was able to pull ahead in one Jund match-up, the others I just couldn’t.  I wound up 2-4 and then dropped for the day.  It was already 5 pm and I didn’t want to push myself driving home during the times when I-95 construction is going on.

However, looking at the deck as it was before M14, and what it turned into after M14, I think I have found a pretty steady compromise.  So for the rest of the blog post I am going to talk about the 3 iterations of the deck and how I think it will continue to change.

Original

4 Deathrite Shaman

4 Strangleroot Geist

4 Dreg Mangler

2 Disciple of Bolas

4 Desecration Demon

2 Garruk Relentless

2 Liliana of the Veil

2 Vraska the Unseen

2 Curse of Deaths Hold

3 Abrupt Decay

1 Tragic Slip

3 Golgari Charm

3 Putrefy

2 Golgari Guildgate

4 Overgrown Tomb

4 Woodland Cemetery

1 Rogue’s Passage

7 Forest

6 Swamp

This deck was solid.  It had consistent answers for everything while still being able to delivery punches.  I played this a lot at Monday Night Standards and FNM at the shop with many fantastic results.  I don’t think I had ever been so happy playing a deck.  Whatever I couldn’t get rid of via Abrupt Decay, Putrefy, or Liliana, Vraska would take care of.  Curse of Death’s Hold really put people a turn back since their mana dorks died or on a very strict counter of what they could play.  This deck was amazing in my eyes and it could do no wrong.

Then M14 came along and this is what I wound up with the morning of the Open:

V2

4 Deathrite Shaman

2 Scavenging Ooze

2 Lifebane Zombie

2 Varolz, the Scar Stripped

2 Disciple of Bolas

4 Desecration Demon

2 Thragtusk

2 Garruk Relentless

2 Vraska the Unseen

4 Liliana of the Veil

1 Curse of Death’s Hold

2 Doom Blade

2 Golgari Charm

2 Putrefy

3 Abrupt Decay

2 Golgari Guildgates

4 Overgrown Tomb

4 Woodland Cemetary

1 Rogue’s Passage

4 Forest

9 Swamp

This deck was not consistent enough to really get a good idea of the decisions you need to make. I would constantly have one piece without the other or be stuck with something that I couldn’t use.  The biggest flop this past weekend was Doom Blade.  I was expecting much less black in the field then there way, and having Doom Blade in your hand while trying to take control of a crazy board state was not helpful.  Varolz is not enough of a threat against many of the decks that are out there, not the same way that Dreg Mangler is.  Scavenging Ooze and Lifebane Zombie did work, but adding in Thragtusk messed up the curve just a bit too much.  I realized that in my deck I don’t want creatures, perhaps the most vital thing, to cost over 4.  D-Demon should be the top of my creature curve.  Having Vraska in my hand isn’t the worst thing if I can’t cast her because she is a free card to toss.  Thragtusk means I can’t play him, and it is going to be awfully hard to scavenge for him too. If I can have a Varolz out long enough.

So I have been mulling it over this week, really thinking about the changes I made between the two decks and if they can reconcile.  I think they can.  Doom Blades are coming out for a bit, although I think they will be useful in the future, and Putrefy is going back in.  The two Thragtusk and Varolz will be coming out.  I’m going to be going up to 4 Dreg Manglers again and 3 Lifebane Zombie. So the final product for testing this weekend will look like this:

V3

4 Deathrite Shaman

2 Scavenging Ooze

3 Lifebane Zombie

4 Dreg Mangler

2 Disciple of Bolas

4 Desecration Demon

2 Vraska

2 Garruk

4 Liliana

3 Abrupt Decay

3 Putrefy

2 Golgari Charm

1 Curse of Death’s Hold

2 Golgari Guildgates

4 Overgrown Tomb

4 Woodland Cemetary

1 Rogue’s Passage

5 Forest

8 Swamp

I’m going to play with the mana base a bit more, thinking about two more Golgari Guildgates to throw in.  But I feel that this is much more solid.  And working with the same deck for so long has really given me a new level of focus and analysis capability.  So despite doing piss poor at an event, the whole drive home I just realized, even above the searing pain in my foot, that I had reached a new level.  I had transcended.  I could indeed, rebuild it to make it bigger, stronger, faster.

And I would do so as soon as I got some sleep.